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Fellow, ATREE
Co-Founder, Takshashila Institution
Partner, Zeitgeist

Date & Time

Thursday Thu, 30 Apr 2020



Bangalore International Centre
7, 4th Main Road, Domlur II Stage
Bengaluru, Karnataka 560 071 India
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+91 98865 99675 bic@bangaloreinternationalcentre.org

We have all experienced how some things have surprisingly changed for the better, in a short time. We have cleaner air and water; we have thriving nature; we are rediscovering family; and we are recalibrating work. We are also reaching out more deeply into our communities.

This session is about the city’s hope for a new normal post Covid-19. How do we sustain the good change many citizens experienced? How can we make sure that we also include those for whom the change seemed negative? The sectors covered will span Environment / Ecology, Work, City spaces / planning, Food / Farming, Family and Community.

The focus will about what we learnt, why it is worth preserving and, most importantly, how that good can be preserved, post lock down. How can we reshape the role that we as citizens can play? For example, now that I know that it was the industry effluents that were choking the city river, will I continue to look away? Will I be more willing to support those who understand it is a very complex problem? Or, now that I know that working from home reduces my carbon footprint, and helps my spouse (hopefully), how can I work with my employer to optimise work effort?

We all need the lens of positive possibilities. Sometimes, innovations forced in such times have positively impacted millions over time. For example, women in Europe and America went to work in large numbers during the War, and though there were some setbacks when the men returned, there was really no going back on the idea of women in an equal workplace.


Rohini Nilekani


Rohini Nilekani is Founder-Chairperson, Arghyam, a foundation she endowed to fund initiatives for sustainable water and sanitation across India. From 2004 to 2014, she was Founder-Chairperson of Pratham Books, a non-profit children’s publisher. She is Co-founder-Director of EkStep, a non-profit education platform.

A former journalist writing for leading publications, she is also the author of “Stillborn” and “Uncommon Ground”, both published by Penguin Books India. In 2017, she was inducted as Foreign Honorary Member of the AmericanAcademy of Arts and Sciences.

As signatories of the Giving Pledge, Rohini and Nandan Nilekani have committed half their wealth to philanthropy.

Veena Srinivasan

Fellow, ATREE

Veena Srinivasan is a Fellow at the Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and the Environment (ATREE), Bangalore, where she leads the Water, Land and Society Programme. Veena’s research interests include inter-sectoral water allocation, impacts of multiple stressors on water resources, ground and surface water linkages, and sustainable water management policy and practice.

Veena’s recent research has focused on understanding anthropogenic and climatic influences in urbanizing watersheds and identifying appropriate policies and adaptation measures. As co-PI of the “Adapting to Climate Change in Urbanizing Watersheds (ACCUWa)”, she has focused on measuring and modelling the socio-hydrology of Arkavathy and Noyyal Basins to understand the impacts of human activity on ground and surface water resources. More recently, she has initiated work on Bangalore’s lakes with the goal of understanding how lakes can contribute to water security as well as creating a citizen’s dashboard which synthesizes data from low-cost sensors and data collected by citizen scientists to help manage lakes better.

Veena has won several awards for her work including the 2015 Jim Dooge Award for best paper in the journal Hydrology and Earth System Science from the European Geophysical Union, the 2012 Water Resources Research Editor’s Choice Award from the American Geophysical Union She is also a recipient of the Teresa Heinz Environmental Scholars Award.

Veena received her PhD from Stanford University’s Emmet Interdisciplinary Program in Environment and Resources (E-IPER). As a post-doctoral scholar at Stanford, Veena was instrumental in developing a framework for a Global Freshwater Initiative at Stanford to understand patterns in the nature and causes of global water crises.

Prior to joining Stanford University, Veena worked for several years on energy and water issues in India, California and globally in the private and non-profit sectors. Veena holds a Masters in Energy and Environmental Studies from Boston University and a B-Tech in Engineering Physics from the Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay.

Manu Chandra


Manu Chandra is the flag-carrier of the young turks among fine chefs in India. He now owns and operates several fine restaurants in Bangalore, Bombay and Delhi. Manu is the President of the Bengaluru Hotel Federation

Nitin Pai

Co-Founder, Takshashila Institution

Nitin Pai is a co-founder of Takshashila and a graduate of Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy (National University of Singapore), Nanyang Technological University and National College, Bangalore. Nitin spent over a decade working in the Singapore government in various capacities, including deregulation, broadband infrastructure development and strategic technology foresight.

Nitin Pai blogs at The Acorn and has a monthly column in Business Standard.

Tara Chacko

Partner, Zeitgeist

Tara Chacko completed her M. Phil in Psychiatric Social Work at the National Institute of Mental Health and Neurosciences (NIMHANS) following her Masters at the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).  She set up a partnership firm called Zeitgeist in Bangalore in 1991 that is involved in designing and conducting Training workshops, Psychological consultation services and Organizational Development consultation. The Zeitgeist team has worked with over 500 companies in sectors as varied as IT, ITES, Manufacturing, Retail, Pharma, Infrastructure and Financial Services

Tara’s passion is in the area of facilitation. Her experience makes her particularly proficient at designing and implementing training workshops and application exercises tailored to an organization’s needs.  Tara Chacko is a workshop leader and has facilitated over 1000 workshops in the last twenty-eight years for people at different levels – from entry level employees to CEO’s and senior management staff.  She is skilled at conducting post training coaching sessions and has been able to facilitate several participants to enhance their skills and achieve their goals.

Tara has been instrumental in setting up Comprehensive Psychological Health and wellness and counselling programmes in organizations. She gets referrals from organizations looking for professional intervention for troubled employees. She has been certified by the United Nations (UN) to handle Critical Incident Stress Management for UN personnel in Asia Pacific and has been working with UN and UNICEF staff to help them cope with the challenges associated with the COVID 19 crisis.



Ravichandar was a member of the Expert Committee on BBMP Restructuring exercise. He set up a City Connect platform for Corporates, Civil Society and Government to work together. Tender SURE was a City Connect initiative. Ravichandar has been active on urban issues in India on a pro bono basis since 2000 when he was a member of BATF and instrumental in designing SAS property tax system.

Ravichandar has a Mechanical Engineering degree from the Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani and an MBA from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad.